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AT&T tells customers to buy anything except the Apple iPhone?

Posted: , by Alan F.


AT&T tells customers to buy anything except the Apple iPhone?
Anonymous sources who work on the frontline for AT&T say that they are being told to push any phone to customers except the Apple iPhone. This doesn't make sense considering that for years, AT&T had the exclusive rights to sell the device in the States. Once Verizon started selling the Apple iPhone 4 on February 10th of last year, the floodgates opened and now even pre-paid carriers like Cricket offer the iconic smartphone.

The number of Apple iPhone activations at AT&T increased by only 3% in the second quarter and while some figured that this drop off is related to the new model coming out, it also would make sense if the carrier's reps were told to push the HTC One X, which is an AT&T exclusive, as is the Windows Phone powered Nokia Lumia 900. But that model has lost sales momentum and recently had its price sliced in half by AT&T. The word to move customers away from Apple's smartphone purportedly comes from regional sales managers and was relayed to BGR by a trio of sources.

"The idea that we would steer any customer away from a particular device couldn’t be more farfetched. Our reps do what it takes to align customer needs with the best device for them. [The] iPhone remains one of our most popular devices, which doesn’t happen by steering people away from it. Our reps are encouraged to try all devices so they are more knowledgeable on our industry-leading smartphone lineup.'-AT&T statement
According to the sources, if a customer walks into an AT&T store seeking an Apple iPhone, he is supposed to be shown Android and Windows Phone models with the rep telling the customer that this is being done so that an informed decision can be made. Additionally, AT&T staff are no longer allowed to own an iPhone as their company owned device and must choose an Android or Windows Phone model.

One of the sources said that since the instructions came down from the regional managers like Moses with the tablets (that design pre-dated Apple!), Apple iPhone sales have declined fairly sharply. Once comprising 80% of AT&T smartphone sales in his area, this AT&T time card puncher says that the Apple iPhone now has between a 50% and 60% share of AT&T smartphone sales in the area, which is a substantial decline. To put that number is perspective, 72% of the carrier's smartphone sales throughout the company were iPhone related.

AT&T has sent out an email to BGR that calls the idea that the carrier would steer customers away from a particular device "farfetched." The carrier also said that the Apple iPhone remains one of AT&T's most popular models which it wouldn't be if the operator was steering customers away from it. Since we've been so wrapped up with legalese this week, we might feel more compelled to believe this with a smoking gun like a copy of a memo or an email coming right from the regional managers telling reps not to push the model that was once their bread and butter.

source: BGR

  • Options

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 14:35 23

2. mas11 (Posts: 1034; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)

It's probably because they are trying to get ppl off their 3G network and on their new Lte network.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 14:38 1

5. TheLibertine (Posts: 484; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)

You actually did believe it was AT&T?

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 14:40 15

8. mas11 (Posts: 1034; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)

Another reason would be Apple's profit margins. Carriers make more money off of Android and WP.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 14:45 3

14. TheLibertine (Posts: 484; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)

Thats exactly the reason Verizon and AT&T did do everything to get it...?

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:03 6

28. mas11 (Posts: 1034; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)

That's because some people will only buy the iPhone. If the carrier doesn't offer it they lose those customers. Even though they make way more money on WP and Android they still make some on iOS.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 17:55 2

72. MeoCao (unregistered)

Of course ATT does not discourage people from buying iPhone, they just tell them to look at other options and the result is obvious: who would buy a inferior yet more expensive phone?

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:05 7

29. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)

"We do have the iPhone here, but take a look at the line of Android we have."

Carry the iPhone but offer something else. If the customer grabs the iPhone then it's a new subscription, if the customer grab something else then we make more money plus a new subscription. Having a subscription is better than having no subscription at all.

Just my guess on the carrier's mentality.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 16:55 2

60. OSFantasma (Posts: 119; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)

I can't believe non had a little support for you above. to answer your question though. the reason was to attract the mass of sheep they can lol. see its like fishing you buy expensive bait to get the big bite. so basically you need to do this in business. then again i don't think this story is true and take it with a grain of sand. either way i hope it does happen as the iphone was one of the causes to higher plan rates including sprint with there 10 fee add on, if it was otherwise they would have removed that fee by now realising that customers are unhappy with it.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 22:51

95. moronman66 (Posts: 162; Member since: 09 Jan 2012)

It's a popular phone for reasons I disagree with, but they all wanted it because so many people want it that it gives them the option of having a better network with a phone that is popular. Android and WP have more types of phones and so they get a lot more money off of all of those phones being sold with higher profit margins than all of the iPhones being sold with lower profit margins. You get what I'm saying? That, and 4G is a big marketing scheme, and while it's faster, it's a good selling point for a lot of cheaper Android and Windows Phones

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 14:47 4

17. mas11 (Posts: 1034; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)

Btw here's some evidence to support my claimhttp://money.cnn.com/2012/02/08/technology/iphone_carrier_subsidy/index.htm

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:14 1

34. TheLibertine (Posts: 484; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)

Android will die. Here some evidence to support my claim:

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:20 2

36. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5498; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)

It is only someones opinion and nothing more. In other words based on nothing.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 17:15 5

67. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)

Um... One is CNN, another is a no name man's blog... I wonder which is more of a valid source...

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 17:17 3

68. mas11 (Posts: 1034; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)

That's opinionated, my article states facts

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 20:58 4

88. jroc74 (Posts: 5980; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

Android was supposed to die already, starting in 2010.

Where have you been the last 2+ years?

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 18:12 1

75. darkkjedii (Posts: 19451; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

iPhone accounts for 50-60% of AT&T sales and was at 72%. iPhone is a cash cow far AT&T.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 18:26 2

80. mas11 (Posts: 1034; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)

Actually if AT&T sold an Android or WP device instead of those iPhones they would receive greater profits.http://money.cnn.com/2012/02/08/technology/iphone_carrier_subsidy/index.htm

posted on 02 Aug 2012, 11:35 2

119. shiftmobile (Posts: 10; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

That is exactly what it is. Now that everyone has the iPhone AT&T doesn't have to push it. Better margins on the other devices.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 14:36 7

3. a1000smiles4u (Posts: 84; Member since: 24 Apr 2012)

Apple to blame Samsung for that
Another legal suit coming up

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 14:38 3

7. jaoowolabi (Posts: 201; Member since: 07 Jun 2012)

its funny cuz apple gets sued more then they sue ppl

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 14:45 4

15. 14545 (Posts: 1447; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

Are you really this stupid. Please show me one suit, outside of the PROVIEW suit, that wasn't a REACTIONARY. Please, I would love to see it. Stop trolling. ATT may be doing this, but chances are it's because they lost the exclusivity, and they have to spend more to on iCr@p contracts than that of other phones.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:24 2

38. TheRetroReplay (Posts: 254; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)

Nokia vs Apple
US Government vs Apple
Kodak vs Apple
Elan vs Apple

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 14:40 1

9. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)

Apple could add this to their plate of evidence against Samsung and try to claim more loss, even tho Samsung was no where mentioned on the article.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 14:42 7

11. CivicSi89 (Posts: 348; Member since: 23 Jul 2011)

I work for VZW and i downsell the hell outta the iPhone 4 and 4S

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 14:47

18. 14545 (Posts: 1447; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

Now if you could just get verizon to stop screwing me on my unlimited grandfathering we would be all set.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 14:56 3

22. CivicSi89 (Posts: 348; Member since: 23 Jul 2011)

there are some things that us employees cant control. so take that up with the higher ups. haha. dont shoot the messenger.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:10

32. 14545 (Posts: 1447; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

Yeah, I know. I've bitched as high up as I can go. Not that it will make a difference.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:14

35. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

Explain your issue with VZW and your Unlimited plan. Just saying they are screwing you and point out nothing leads me to believe you have no idea what you are being screwed on. Please share with the rest of us, I have an unlimited plan with VZW and it's grandfathered in also I have a new every two left on my contract as well. No problems to report with my unlimited and the only real issue is that my Data app from VZW doesn't auto update anymore, not like I care all that much but for those who aren't on unlimited this might count as an issue.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:32 1

41. 14545 (Posts: 1447; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

Yep, clearly I have no idea what I'm talking about. With "subsidization" going away, it RAISES YOUR MONTHLY BILL by ~25 dollars in order to keep your unlimited data. (IE, ~400(the subsidy)/18=22 dollars a month) They are taking away a subsidy that is already built-in to what we pay every month. (see Tmo's value plans compared to their other plans) That's PER line. So, if they want to give me a 20% discount for not taking a subsidy, that's fine, (approx 40 a month for my two smartphone lines and two dumbphone lines), then I will no longer consider myself being screwed. Now, please off yourself. Then, add in the fact that we are indirectly locked into a contract because MOST of verizons phones are carrier locked and can't be used on another carrier. (you have a few world phones that can be hacked to work on the GSM carriers, but not that many) So, I have to pay 600+ dollars for a phone that if I decide and leave for another carrier I have to sell for a loss and buy another phone on that carrier. If we were talking about phones that I use on any network(like how the European networks are) then I might not be quite as aggravated about it. So, clearly I have no idea what I am talking about.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:47 2

45. CivicSi89 (Posts: 348; Member since: 23 Jul 2011)

Yeah dude. included in those plans are also Unlimited Talk and Text plans. you know what. Tell me what you have and ill tell you if you save money or if your bill goes up. Because theres only been 10% of people who have switched over the the new tiered data plans and their bills have gone up. People are so damn afraid of loosing their unlimited data because of one word. "Unlimited" and most of those people only use at most 1 to 1.5GB per month. Hell i had a customer come in yelling that she was gonna loose her unlimited and she was only using 500MB per month. and when i switched her to the new Share Everything plans she saved $86 a month off her bill! you want someone to blame? Blame the people who abuse the unlimited data and ruin it for everyone else. but personally. People who have switched. have either saved or their bills have been made simpler. Unlimited data is gone. But with the tiered data come Unlimited Talk. Unlimited Text. Sharing data so you dont have to have a data package per phone. and Tethering now. you dont even have to pay extra for that.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 16:23 2

54. 14545 (Posts: 1447; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

I don't use the 1400 minutes I pay for now. But yes, I have actually looked at the tiered plans, and my bill will increase 40 a month if I switched to them. I use ~6gb of data a month, and my fiance uses ~2, so I would have to have a minimum of the 10gb plan, and adding in my stupid dumbphones increases it 30 bucks for each one. So my bill would jump from 205 to ~250. And clearly you know since I'm here I don't pay for tethering. I RARELY use it, but I don't pay for it either. Nor would I. (PS, FCC ruled against VZW on this matter anyway. At least concerning the capped plans.) I'm all for usage based billing if it is reasonable. 2GB isn't reasonable. VZW in 07 when I first signed up for my data plan considered 5GB R&C, but now after smartphones have increased in popularity, it's 2? Seriously, that doesn't even make sense. Also, those that "abuse" unlimited data are in a very small minority, AND IF VZW was so concerned about them, throttle them just like everyone else except sprint. That's the reason I don't give that argument much thought. I don't agree with those that use 10-20-120gb of data a month, but VZW agreed to give them service for that. They should have termed their contracts if it was that big of a deal. This 2GB BS allows for VZW to rake in overages from even the most casual smartphone user, and I will go back to a dumbphone before paying more than 205 dollars a month for service. That's my cap. It is my SECOND largest bill that I pay every month. Only my mortguage exceeds its. That's where I draw the line and Fran can KMA if he thinks otherwise. It won't save me money, as unlike most of your customers I have actually looked into it. In relative terms, I pay 37.50 a month for "data" in the form of my home internet, and it isn't capped. Yes, spectrum is limited thanks to our wonderful crappy government, but that's not my fault, and VZW is just trying to rake in every last penny. Well, I've been pushed too far. Smartphones are a want, not a need, and before paying another dime a month I'll either switch or drop the service altogether. And I assure VZW that I am not alone. As I have seen my opinions expressed elsewhere.

Lastly, as far as tethering goes, it should have never been more to begin with. What does it matter if that bit is consumed by the phone or by another device that uses the phones modem? It's seen no differently as far as VZW is concerned, a bit is still a bit no matter it's use.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 16:35 1

58. 14545 (Posts: 1447; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

Oh, and I actually had your CS run the numbers too, and even the "best" she could do was (IIRC) a 20 dollar increase with the 6gb plan based off the usage of my lines. You can't save me any money with these crappy plans. Maybe if they offered 1000 minutes for 60 dollars less, then you might could. But I could care less about unlimited minutes. I use about 600 a month across 4 lines. But I pay for 1400 because ONE month of going over by as little as 100 minutes and I have blown more than the 20 dollars a month in "savings" from that cheaper 700 minute plan. So in theory I have been throwing away 240 dollars a year to VZW because they have never offered a decent intermediate plan to the 700 and 1400 minute plans. However, they do with the individual plans. As they have the "900 minute" plan there.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 17:02 2

62. OSFantasma (Posts: 119; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)

can you blame them.. they don't want to be limited when they were eclusively told they could do what ever with out worry of overages those day are over.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:49 2

47. CivicSi89 (Posts: 348; Member since: 23 Jul 2011)

also. You want true freedom? Buy an unlocked Galaxy Nexus and jump around carriers till you find something you like. But i guarantee you wont get the coverage or the speeds that VZW offer doing that.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 16:29

56. 14545 (Posts: 1447; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

Um, I've been on other carriers. And the only thing VZW has a leg up on is coverage. But I live in a major city, so that is pretty much a moot point anyway. Speed, ATT's LTE is faster, and both Tmo and ATT's "3G" is faster. I get you are a salesman, but I'm not your typical customer that comes in completely uninformed about what I'm going to buy. I wish I could buy an UNLOCKED multiband device from someone other than VZW for use on VZW's network. But of course I can't. I can only use that unlocked nexus on two carriers in this country, and one completely sucks as far as coverage goes, and the other just sucks altogether. (Tmo and ATT in that order)

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 17:02

63. CivicSi89 (Posts: 348; Member since: 23 Jul 2011)

Lol and im not your typical salesman. :) I dont care about verizons policies or any of that. I care about PEOPLE. And if that means switching carriers so you can find your means then by all means go ahead. I feel your pain boss. I really do. I live in a major city as well. (Chicago) And if im not mistaken, Dosent the Google Galaxy Nexus support AT&T's HSPDA+ Bands?

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 17:57 1

73. gallitoking (Posts: 4718; Member since: 17 May 2011)

by saying you care about people.. that made you a typical salesman... just saying

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 18:12 2

76. CivicSi89 (Posts: 348; Member since: 23 Jul 2011)

as opposed to?

posted on 02 Aug 2012, 02:28 1

105. roscuthiii (Posts: 2149; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

A typical salesman would not encourage a lost sale, or for a customer to seek another carrier.
Troll school must have let out.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 14:51 9

19. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 1031; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)

I used to work for AT&T so i will tell you this from my standpoint.............

I worked for an AT&T authorized retailer and WE were taught to sell anything other than the iPhone because of the profit margin and it occured LONG BEFORE AT&T had LTE!! It is true that the iPhone is one of the most popular phones within AT&T, but its an expensive sell for AT&T in general because you dont get alot of commission for it. I sold a few iPhones and in order for me to "break even" I had to add an accessory or 2. if the authorized retailer had an issue, i know that the corporate store were worse.

Its not just about the customers' preference, its about "what sells!" Android has a higher profit margin than Apple and I cant go into the specifics to explain that. When I left AT&T, I knew that if AT&T didnt beef up their SmartPhone lineup, theyd eventually be in the Red like Sprint

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:37 2

43. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1506; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

I actually guessed it was something along those lines. The iPhone is so heavely subsidized that the profit margins for the carriers shrink, so they prefer to sell other phones.
In fact if you think about it you get the apparently incoherent conclusion that by buying an Android on the authorized retailers or the carriers´ stores you are subsidizing iPhones.
Thanks for sharing!

posted on 02 Aug 2012, 07:38 1

113. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 1031; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)

The other thing about authorized retailers is that there are not many iPhones in stock to begin with which brings validity to my comment

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 14:58 1

24. shadowcell (Posts: 300; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)

Old news is old. BGR has been known to post falsified rumors and I'd like to see their "sources".

They'd be lucky if Apple and AT&T doesn't press charges for slander.

Sales and activations primarily because of customers patiently awaiting the new model release.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:24 2

39. structureman116 (Posts: 139; Member since: 14 Sep 2010)

This would not be an example of slander. Slander is verbal. When it is in written form it is libel.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:36

42. shadowcell (Posts: 300; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)

Libel, slander....Regardless, we might be seeing SEC taking a closer look at this.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:01 1

25. Roomaku (Posts: 278; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)

Isn't this old news? Eh I hope Windows Phone is getting pushed god knows At&t has enough of them....

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:02 5

27. jacky_luvsjrod (Posts: 53; Member since: 26 May 2010)

well tHis is not something new well atleast for the LA area they have been doing that since like last year in every single att store i gone in los angeles i go in asking for a smarthone they show me the android phones first then windows phones then bb they dnt even mention they sell iphones even tho they do cuz i see them on display but i could care less i own an android phone same for my bf he owns an android phone i will never ever and i mean ever go back to an iphone after owning a laaame iphone 4s .

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:12 2

33. J-LoTheGreat (Posts: 32; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)

I have to say I truly enjoy reading the commentson this site better than reading the articles. It is like when I open a Playboy. I read the articles first ;)

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:25 2

40. SonyFTW2020 (Posts: 311; Member since: 03 May 2012)

I think it is only fair that a customer should know that there is more in a store than just the iphone...And if that customer still wants to choose the iphone after seeing that there is also other great phones for BETTER prices, then that will be his/her choice! What's the matter apple fans afraid that android will win over customers because they actually offer better options than apple does?

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:40 4

44. Ravail (Posts: 182; Member since: 14 Oct 2011)

I know iPhones cost carriers lots of cash, but they do have to have it for their customer base.. speaking of the contract that Sprint signed with Apple is just downright retarded.. a 15 billion contract for a company whos net worth is barely over 10 billion? hmm i smell bankruptcy!

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 17:10

65. OSFantasma (Posts: 119; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)

yeah sprint was slow in that route but same as always they thought of it as bait, an extemely expensive bait only problem here is we really don't know how much other carriers end up paying for the iPhone. Though i suspect a huge amount...

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 15:48

46. teengoku (Posts: 4; Member since: 29 Jul 2012)

if they did its probably because the iphone 5 is coming soon

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 16:35 2

57. tedkord (Posts: 9872; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

This is from BGR report, so take it with a grain of salt. Most likely it's not true, but rather is a made up excuse for why Apple phones continue to slide worldwide in market share. They can't accept that consumers are choosing Android of their own volition, so they have to come up with an explanation.

Any time any news comes out with bad numbers for Apple in any way, the BGR machine starts humming to rationalize it.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 16:41 1

59. marchels14 (unregistered)

my sister wants to buy i phone 4s, i told her are you stupid or what,that is the worst idea ever,in UK it costs 500 pounds,for that money you can get something better like Samsung or Sony phone, they are of thee best phones maker out there, she likes the small screen on it,who likes that.so i like the idea that at&t does that because they are true, you can get something better for same amount of money.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 17:06 3

64. Hammerfest (Posts: 382; Member since: 12 May 2012)

"To put that number is perspective, 72% of the carrier's smartphone sales throughout the company was iPhone related."

This last part reads like someone hit you in the back of the head and you wrote it before fully recovering...

Just read it a few times... you will see...

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 17:13 2

66. AstronautJones (Posts: 302; Member since: 01 Aug 2012)

Makes perfect sense.
iPhone used to bring in customers. Now they have competition for the iPhone crowd.
Lower margins on iPhone sales coupled with studies showing higher data consumption by iPhone users=lower profits.

Maybe now the playing field is a little more balanced, maybe consumers can truly be helped to find the best device for that individual.

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 17:46 2

69. sum182 (Posts: 229; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)

This is really just about money, selling an iphone makes them nothing, and others make the a heafty amount. Just business as usual, a little of apple showing in ATNT

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 17:49 3

71. gallitoking (Posts: 4718; Member since: 17 May 2011)

I think is ATT employees who are doing this.. not ATT.. as we can see around here people that work selling phones for x carrier have openly said that they have discourage people that want the iphone for an Android.. so is the haters that are not happy with the iphone success and dedicate their lives if necessary for Apple to rotten.. but on the other side are claiming they do this because they want to have options which in a normal human being it makes no sense...

posted on 01 Aug 2012, 22:30 3

94. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Fyi, dug your earlier comment. I'm flattered. :p

I do have a reasonable success rate at least getting all but the most rabid fanboys looking at devices other than the iPhone. Which is pretty impressive, considering that I'm in ATT's backyard, where customers only really knew the iPhone for years.

posted on 02 Aug 2012, 00:09 1

100. gallitoking (Posts: 4718; Member since: 17 May 2011)

and is fine Sniggly.. I dont hate Android.. if I see someone like my cousin who likes to play and likes to tweak i will offer Android I have no problem.. i just don understand u guys hate towards Apple... cant believe the you having a good day depends on the sucess of a company.. I hate people who abuses welfare programs but i still live mylife.... I dont go on ever forum and bad mouth that those people...

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